Those Stupid Americans

I recently stumbled upon an AOL-hosted web page from 1996 titled The Evil of Pippi Longstocking in which the author claims that Pippi is the Antichrist, the devil, an evil concoction dreamt up by Germans and Swedes to fill the power vacuum left by Hitler’s death. I have to assume that David Nagel’s purpose in publishing his rather idiotic theories were to drum up controversy and revenue from the traffic the angered hordes would bring.

I can’t argue against that motive because that’s precisely the idea behind Richard’s Ramblings — find something interesting or informative to write about, slightly twist it around if it’s fictional, gratuitously sex it up with a sprinkling of bøøbs, bosoms, and breasts (oh, my!), and dish out a few comments designed to heat up the conversation. The extra traffic should increase revenues from click-through ads. Millions of websites have the same revenue model, as do Fox News and Howard Stern.

None of that works without the other side of the equation — the visitors. And, boy, are David’s Swedish readers riled! The visiting Swedes (Sweden being the country of Pippi’s origin) let their opinions fly:

  • Another stupid American; the world is full of them!
  • You’re probably a stupid American åsshølë!
  • I wipe my åss with the American flag and spit in your face.

Being a citizen of the United States myself, I was curious as to the sentiment of others. So I decided to find some additional opinions by searching the Internet with Google, spelling left intact:

  • The only thing Americans can teach is how to corrupt countries and take their money. All Americans are is greety båstårds.” — I think countries have been corrupting themselves for thousands of years without the help of the United States. Also, most people worldwide work hard to better themselves and provide as much as possible for their families. Americans included. Yes, there are some really bad, greedy Americans that can ruin things for everyone, even on a global scale — but not everyone fits that description. Personally, I have no idea how to teach someone to corrupt an entire country.
  • Photo © / Michael Ciranni

    [The] US is the laughing stock of the world. American cars suck, American people are stupid, fat and ignorant, your technology sucks.” — Yes, spoken out of prejudice and ignorance, Americans can be conceived as being the laughing stock of the world. So would whichever country happens to be in the economic and military lead at the time.

    Some American cars do suck, but the Yugo hasn’t won too many awards that I’m aware of. Interestingly, when I lived in Germany as a child, the fantasy car of choice by most Germans was a Pontiac — not a Mercedes or Porsche. I never understood that.

    This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air — the big yellow thing under the half-naked, non-fat girl, who herself was created in the United States — was made possible by the first mass-produced automobile perfected by Henry Ford in 1896. As, too, were headlights (on the car, not the model) by Horatio Allen in 1831, polarizing sunglasses (sunglasses invented by Sam Foster (Foster Grants) in 1929, and polarization by Edwin Land (Polaroid) in 1932), and the digital camera used to take the picture by Kodak in 1975.

    You’re probably viewing the picture on either a personal computer (thanks to IBM in 1981) or a cellular phone (Motorola in 1973) over the Internet (sometime between 1960 and 1995, depending on your definition).

    American scientists at Dow Corning invented the first silicone breast implants in 1961. The bikini, however, is French, and the fingernail polish is of Chinese origin.

    Sadly, according to the OECD, the United States does lead the developing world in obesity rates, followed by Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Finland. The WHO also includes United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait in their fattest countries list. And, yes, some Americans are a combination of stupid, fat, and ignorant. So are some members of any other country in the world.

    If Microsoft products are used as the sole measurement of our technology, then, yes, it sucks. But I haven’t seen any other countries that provide the number of major innovations that have stemmed from America in the last hundred years. That the Swedes could read David’s diatribe on the Internet at all is thanks to the United States.

  • Americans are full of shìt. ignorant, yet stuppied people. they are bvery norrow minded and veyr materiolistic.” — I already agreed that sum Amurikanz ar bvery stuppied. But not all; the first spell checking software was invented at UC Berkeley in 1972 — by an American.
  • You have a handful of smart and educated people who drive the country, and then you have this humongous blob of utterly clueless people who are hardly able to make a living.” — Can’t really argue with that. But, again, the same can be said for every other country.
  • You are all non-sensical inbred morons.” — Actually I don’t personally know anyone who is the result of inbreeding in the United States, although it may be common in certain areas of the country such as Tennessee (pronounced “Ken-tuck-ee”, if you’re from Tennesee). You think inbreeding didn’t occur within the European and Asian royals of the past? The Spanish Habsburgs died out due to inbreeding. Consanguineous marriages were also common in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and India, and 20-25% of marriages within many Muslim and Hindu societies are between first cousins.
  • Americans are generally loud and stupid.” — Yeah, I hate American tourists, too. Again, I’d qualify that as “some”, rather than generalizing the population as a whole.
  • U.S.A is the biggest shìt hølë.” — According to Google, it seems that people all over the world are calling just about every country on the planet the “biggest shìt hølë”. And half of them claim that wherever they’re living now is the world’s biggest shìt hølë. I say we just all take a vote and decide once and for all. That’s the democratic way.
  • I thank God that I’m not a stupid åss-fûçkìng American.” — I thank God I’m not a stupid åss-fûçkìng American either. I can’t understand people’s obsession with anal sex. Sorry, I’m not into that. I’m just a regular American of above-average intelligence, eking out a living, trying to fulfill the dreams of my family.

I’d rather be considered a stupid American than have to resort to pointless name-calling in a vain attempt to gain national stature. I am hardly a Bible-toting, born-again Christian, but I find it difficult to disagree with these Proverbs:

“The proud and haughty man, ‘scoffer’ is his name; He works in the arrogance of pride… When pride comes, then comes shame, But with humility comes wisdom.”

Don’t lump every citizen of a country together under a single label; it just makes you look stupid.

Alcohol Served in Disneyland

Since before I was born (and very likely long before you were born), Disneyland has been serving up alcoholic drinks and offering exclusive gourmet dining in its well-known family-oriented themepark. Surprised?

Photo © Disney

Smack in the middle of New Orleans Square, right next to the entrance to the Blue Bayou restaurant, is a mysterious door with an ornamental “33” to its right. Without a $20,000 corporate sponsorship or a $7,500 individual membership, along with $2,250 in annual dues, you will not be allowed to step inside the doorway to the elegant Club 33. Unless, of course, you have a well-to-do or well-connected friend who himself is a member.

“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the Park. I want them to feel they’re in another world.” — Walt Disney

Glancing upward, the ornate iron railings and picturesque flower arrangements on the second-story 19th-century New Orleans French Quarter-style balcony give no clues that inside is a private adult club adorned with original works of Disney artists, Napoleonic furnishings, glimmering chandeliers, fresh flowers, parquet floors, and antique bronzes.

Walt Disney envisioned this secluded haven as a special place where he could entertain visiting dignitaries and others where “superb cuisine and distinctive decor would complement one another.” Many of the antiques on display were selected by Walt himself during frequent trips to New Orleans. It took years for his original idea to come to fruition, and unfortunately he died five months before its grand opening in May of 1967.

One of membership’s most intriguing perks is permission to ride in “Lilly Belle”, Walt’s private and luxurious rail car, the only caboose on the four trains that circumnavigate the park.

Thrills: 0. But, coolness factor: a definitive 10.

Don’t think you can rush right out and charge up one of these memberships on your American Express Platinum card. The current waiting list is approximately two to three years.


It is reported that as of 2011, the wait for membership may be as long as 14 years. Corporate members pay an initiation fee of $27,500, while individual members pay $10,000 — in addition to annual dues, which are about $6,100 or $3,500, respectively.

What Causes Red Eye?

Last night someone asked me what causes red-eye during flash photographs. My simple explanation at the time was that the light from the flash was reflecting off the back of the retina. Red-eye is more prevalent at night when the eye’s iris is widest open to let in the most light. Some camera manufacturers try to overcome this with a special red-eye-reduction flash; those annoying multi-flash, red-eye-reducing cameras attempt to fool the eye into thinking that there’s an abundance of light and to subsequently close the iris.

Naturally, I consulted my medical references when I got home. I was pretty darn near close, although it makes me feel a bit like Cliff Claven when I get these things even slightly wrong.

No, it’s not technically the iris that opens and closes. The iris is the colored part of the eye, the muscles that surround the pupil, and is technically one of the body’s many sphincter muscles. Its purpose is to open and close the pupil, the hole in the center of the eye that lets in the light.

Yes, I said “sphincters”. Go ahead and get over your giggling so you can go back and re-read that and maybe learn something.

“My, what a nice pair of sphincters you have!” — isn’t exactly an opening line you’re likely to hear often. Stick with “My, what pretty red eyes you have!” You’ll get much farther with girls like Cheska.

You did notice her red eyes, didn’t you? Or were you unable to focus your eyes on anything other than her round objects?

So, why red? I couldn’t remember at the time, but if you remember what’s back there in the retina you can easily figure it out: rods, cones, and blood vessels. The light is reflecting off the blood vessels in the retina right back to the camera. And since everyone I know has red blood, well, you “get the picture”…


The simplest methods to prevent red-eye? Use an off-camera flash. When the flash is too close to the lens, as on most point-and-shoot cameras, you get that lovely red demon-like reflection.

Second best? A little touch-up with Adobe Photoshop, iPhoto, GIMP, or Pixelmator. Doesn’t actually prevent red-eye, but any of the major image-editing software packages can easily remove the redness, or have readily available free plugins to do the job near automatically.

But What About Dogs and Cats?

Thanks to ‘Sir Matthew of Wembly‘ for pointing out that while red eye in humans is caused by reflections from red blood vessels at the back of the eye, other animals reflect colors other than red. The explanation may require a higher level of vocabulary than Matthew is accustomed to.

Photo ©

The epithelium or retina in many animals (including dogs, cats, and deer) have a special reflective layer called the tapetum lucidum. It acts almost like a mirror at the back of their eyes and enables the animal to see in dimmer light than it would otherwise be able to.

Consisting of a compound called guanine, the tapetum lucidum reflects light outward and thereby allows a second chance for its absorption by visual pigments at very low light intensities. The visual pigments present in the eyes of these animals produce the non-red eyeshines often seen from nocturnal animals.

Humans, of course, do not have a tapetum lucidum layer in their retinas — therefore, the reflection off the retina shows the red color from blood vessels. As I clearly stated above.

Interestingly, dogs and other animals that have complete heterochromia iridum (or bi-colored eyes) usually give off flash reflections of different colors, too. Humans with heterochromia (such us Kate Bosworth, Christopher Walken, and Mila Kunis) still reflect blood red in both eyes.